ISABELA, Philippines – The Ombudsman has filed charges against former Isabela governor and election commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo “Grace” Padaca at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan for not submitting her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) from 2007 to 2010.
The complaint, filed on Tuesday, October 13, said Padaca “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” failed to submit the mandated SALN report of her properties, in “utter disregard of her official obligation.”
The filing of SALN is required by law of public officials and employees.
In a statement, Padaca questioned the “timing” of publicity of the filing of cases against her – during the filing of certificate of candidacies for the 2016 elections. Padaca filed her COC for governor on Thursday, October 15.
Padaca said the report was about the decision of the Ombudsman dated August 3, when the office denied the motion for reconsideration (MR) she filed May 29 this year.
“Dati na akong nagtataka sa kakaibang bilis ng mga pangyayari sa kasong ito. Ngayon naman, sa oras o ‘timing’ ng paglabas ng balita,” Padaca said. (I was already wondering about the swiftness of the events in this case. And now, it’s already about the “timing” of the release of news.)
The complainant, lawyer Francisco Ramirez, is a “close ally” of her political opponents, the Dy clan in Isabela province, Padaca said.
The Ombudsman recommended a P10,000 bail for her temporary liberty.
Rappler reached Padaca for further comments, but has yet to receive a reply.
Padaca said she submitted her SALNs for 4 years, but these were lost in the Human Resources Department in the provincial capitol of Isabela.
The suspicion of her camp, she said, was that the files were “intentionally” lost or was not submitted by the HR Department.
“Nagsumite kami ng SALN. Ang aming HINALA ay sadya itong winala ng kung sino man sa Human Resources Department ng Kapitolyo – sila na panahon pa ng mga ninuno ng mga dinastiya ay mga tau-tauhan na nila,” Padaca said.
(We submitted our SALN. Our suspicion was they were intentionally lost by any one from the Human Resource Department inside the capitol – they who have been employees since dynasties began.)
Padaca said she “immediately re-filed” her SALNs with the office of the Deputy Ombudsman upon discovery that her SALNs were “missing.”
“Respondent Padaca’s good faith in filing her SALNs for the years 2007 to 2010 with the Office of the Ombudsman after learning the loss of her SALNs negates any finding of liability on her part,” Padaca’s legal counsel said in their motion for reconsideration.
But the Ombudsman said “it is difficult to fathom how respondent would be unfamiliar with such a practice or that she has not altogether adopted this procedure given her lengthy stint in government service.”
Padaca recently ranted on several Facebook posts about the Liberal Party (LP) for compromising with non-party members at the local level to get as much as support for its presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. – Rappler.com